Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research


The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is a consortium of around 700 universities, colleges, and research institutions. ICPSR provides the following services:

  • Data archives for research data in the social sciences. ICPSR has over ½ million data files that date from the 1960s to the present.. They cover a variety topics that are described in more detail below.
  • Short courses in research methods for faculty and graduate students. Topics include statistical analysis, mathematical modeling, qualitative methods, and other research methods.
  • Research resources, including a searchable bibliographic citations database, a variables database to find studies that have addressed specific variables, online data analysis services, and a variety of research related publications.
  • Teaching resources, including course modules that allow you to integrate data analysis into your courses that enable students to use current research data to explore topics relevant to your course content. 

The ICPSR data archive contains 500,000+ files.  Many of these files were deposited by academic and professional researchers after they completed their initial work with the data.  The files contain the original data from surveys and other sources.  Most of these files are available in SPSS or SAS format.  The data archives can be searched by topic, date, or principal investigator. In addition to the main data archive, the data archives contains special collecitons on the following topics:

  • aging
  • criminal justice
  • demographic and population data (including the US census data)
  • education
  • international data on cross national international relations
  • health and mental health
  • special instructional collections designed for classroom teaching
  • race and ethnicity
  • terrorism


Accessing ICPSR Data and Other Resources

Because Towson University is a member institution of ICPSR, all TU students, faculty, and staff may download an unlimited number of data files from ICPSR. Anyone can search the archive, but you must create an ICPSR account to download data files.

Creating an ICPSR Account

You must set up your ICPSR account from a computer on the Towson University campus.  Thereafter, you can work from any computer (at home or on campus or elsewhere) but you must log onto your ICPSR account from a computer on the TU campus at least once per month to renew your account.  To set up your ICSPR account,  

You can also link your login to your Google or Facebook account.

Searching the ICPSR Data Archive

You do not need to have an ICPSR account to search the data archive. However, without an account, you will not be able to download any data files that you locate during your search.  The ICPSR search engine allows you to search the data archive with keywords based on the content of the studies you wish to locate or by entering the names of the investigators, if you know them. 

Using ICPSR Teaching Resources

ICPSR offers a variety of teaching resources including short, data-driven exercises, ready to be embeded in courses; larger exercise sets based on major studies such as the American National Election Studies; and online data analysis tools that enable the instructor to provide data analysis assignments free from learning complicated software such as SPSS or SAS. 

Enrolling in ICPSR Short Courses for Faculty and Graduate Students

The ICPSR Summer Program offers short courses for faculty and graduate students. Courses cover topics in quantitative and qualitative social research and are organized as 4 week courses or 3 to 5 day workshops. The schedule of summer courses and registration information can be found at the ICPSR Summer Program website.

Your ICPSR Official Representative

Each ICPSR member institution has an Official Representative on campus that can help with:

  • Locating and downloading data;
  • Preparing data for use in SPSS or SAS;
  • Presenting seminars for departments interested in using ICPSR; and
  • Providing information about ICPSR resources and services.

Towson University's ICPSR Official Representative is:

Dr. James Roberts

Professor, Department of Political Science, Towson University

Phone: 410-704-3510







Faculty and graduate students can sign up now for classes in the ICPSR Summer Program.

Archives Additions & Updates - 6/4/2013

32404 Historical Demographic Data of Southeastern Europe: Orasac, 1824-1975

34380 Annual Parole Survey, 2008

34381 Annual Parole Survey, 2009

34382 Annual Parole Survey, 2010

34519 Whittier Narrows Earthquake Study, 1988

4149 Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES): 2000 Cohort [United States]

7730 National Survey of Access to Medical Care, 1975-1976

33641 Well Elderly 2, Los Angeles, California, 2004-2008








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